Salt (in the Wound)

Painting by Elena Katsyura

What did you learn in school today, the bored mom asked her teenage son at the dinner table
not looking up from her phone
not noticing quiet tears falling on shuffled peas.

How to multiply polynomials, conjugate in the subjunctive, how violently sudden the last gasp of air comes to the bullet-holed classmate, how it feels to be expendable, grieving, and let down all at once. That was never on the syllabus or the glossy website. Forget being fruitful and multiplying when we don’t even know what X is. Forget wishing and hoping when we shed (others’) blood for the correct version of hypothetical. We are willing to (let someone else) die for what we are (not) willing to sacrifice. Don’t ever tell me to be bold again if this is what it looks like.  Read More


Portrait of a February Morning

I stepped outside onto the back porch to let the dog out first thing and a rush of vitality filled me as the cedar smoke of our neighbors’ chimney and the cold wet in the air stung my bare face. The mountains to the south were already enshrouded in heavy cloud and a few snow flurries met the wafts of smoke-drift. Winter! I need it. What a revival from the malaise of warm, dry January, sickly like overripe fruit in a moist and sealed container. Defying the seasons and the natural order of life cycles like the technological revolution.  Read More

Lay Low

Photography by Peter Lindbergh

“Lay low awhile.”
Din of grungy mahjong slot machines, smoke thick as port-town smog, slurps of Chongqing hot noodle soup
Watery lager, grease stains, and spit riddled the cement floor,
For the right price she could decipher them too —
“Too many eyes on you and this,”
Boss held up her Read More


Photography by Charlotte Colbert

All is white these days, the humidifier noise through the night and late January skies, but I’d give my life not to remain a blank slate mirror anymore. Smooth, slippery cold marble surface, not even the Kronos Quartet playing Philip Glass to the much prayed-for snowfall, not even the kids’ laughs or cries, not even my husband saying poetry doesn’t matter can penetrate, or stick, or stain. Albedo one hundred percent. Read More

Sliding Scale

Mentality shaky like an ancient mountain on a fault line slipping into the sea and the mountains don’t even speak to me anymore long neglectful of the dust that comprises their mass even when the shadows spill glorious on their umber cliff sides in low winter sun i am laid numb by the trisomy 13 and too premature and still-
births of strangers
sisters Read More


Painting by Igor Eugen Prokop


I had an orgasm in Oklahoma, a vision in Virginia, but in Denver witnessed no empty tomb in a rocky mountain, or any other miracle
I gestated in Solomon’s icicles and was born in the wizened space between May raindrops
In San Bernardo was baptized in Escobarian blood and chicharron grease Read More


I’m of the school where we are meant to feel the chaos of the cosmos, the “collapsing of stars,” and the funereal aspects of life, deep in the fibers of our muscles. And, it is both a terrifying and a redeeming mission. Hear this:

RamJet Poetry


And it’s all so heavy. Burden of mine embedded. It sticks like a low spring evening in Georgia, suffocating, full of old ghosts and drab speech. There’s cheese-wire cutting through my muscles, fire ants in my bones. Worms eating my guts, spiders behind my eyes. Noises so loud it is the earth sundering, no, the collapsing of a star. Heavy. My heart is on fire and my mind blanketed by winter snow. I have been crucified but unlike the saviour, I cannot die. Moving into a half-waking stupor. I engage in the act of living, but it is a poor performance. I am a MUFON case file, unexplained enigmas, Marfa lights. If you want to know what pain is, look my way. I know what pain is for pain is me. So blind from the light that I cannot see. Funny thing about pain, it is an invisible, sly demon…

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Commie Consulting

Art by Yue Minjun

‘Commie Consulting’ was what I suggested when Mike Sun — ardent Daoist and clandestine Christian who took pride in sharing a surname with Zhou dynasty war (now business) strategist, Sun Zi — asked what we should call our company that helped foreigners do business in China.

“I like it.”

Thus, as conceal-carry attracts violence in the hope of playing hero, so it was there, packing heated wallets while Americans marketed their Chopstix® to the Chinese and garishly joked while downing and drowning in sorghum wine and braised Sichuan pork butt from the shared ‘iron rice bowl’, that it was considered “unpatriotic to eat this stuff in the States.”  Read More